All your pre-visit and on-location info, from visas and vaccinations to weather and when to go. As a guide, both the weather and the crowds heat up over Christmas, and many visitors can visit visa-free

Language

There are 11 official languages spoken in South Africa, but English is the most widespread in Cape Town

Time zone

GMT+2

Currency

South African rand (ZAR)

Country dialling code

+27

Weather

Summers (November to February) are warm and temperate, with temperatures between 20C/68F and 24C/75F – but blustery south-easterly winds can be quite aggressive. Winter (peaking June-August) is rainy season in Cape Town, with temperatures ranging from about 8C/46F to 18C/64F accompanied by torrential downpours

When to visit

November through February is peak season, but Christmas crowds can make traffic unbearable and prices for hotels and apartment rentals typically skyrocket. October and March tend to have great weather and are less chaotic

Visas

Passports must be valid for more than 30 days past the visit, and must have two blank pages. Passport holders of these listed countries do not require a visa for a visit of 90 days or less

Vaccinations

South Africa requires proof of Yellow Fever vaccination, only if traveling from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever

Electronics

Types C, D, M, and N (two- and three-prong)

Tipping

Not mandatory, but a 10% is welcome for most hospitality and services – and expected in higher-end establishments

Emergencies

Dial 107 (112 from a cell phone) for general emergencies, 10111 for police, or 10177 for an ambulance. You may also want to check out the Tourism Board’s advice on health and safety in the city

Tourist info

The Cape Town Tourism office at the corner of Burg and Castle streets in the heart of the CBD is full of friendly faces, helpful brochures, and even an interactive touch-screen kiosk to help you plan your next move. There are other branches across the city and suburbs as well, find the full list here

Getting there

Airlines and airportsCape Town International Airport is serviced by many international airlines from Europe and the Middle East

Transfers: The MyCiti bus leaves the airport every 20 minutes for the city centre between 5:10am and 10pm, and costs under 80 rand in addition to a one-time 35 rand fee for the MyConnect card. Uber is a popular option, with rides to the city centre costing around 150 rands, or you can investigate hiring a car here

Getting around

Public transport: A commuter train network links the suburbs to the city centre, while an extensive (if not always punctual) MyCiti bus network can take you anywhere from the airport to Table Mountain to various neighbourhoods in and around the city

Cycle hire: Upcycle has drop-and-go stations across the city. Rates are 50 rand per hour, 80 rand for two hours, 120 rand for three hours, 150 rand for half day, and 200 rand for full day, including locks and helmets

Cabs: Instead of hailing a cab off the street, you should opt for reliable taxi services like Rikki’s or Excite – but most Capetonians prefer to just use Uber

Hotel Offers

Worldwide deals and discounts for American Express Cardmembers